I went to France with my brother to surprise my parents and left the husband to host a sleepover with eight excited girls. I was hoping for a phone call to tell me I was a hero, a legend, a queen. He said it was a breeze and ‘more fun without me’. I spent Friday trying to get to my parents’ tiny village in the middle of nowhere with my brother, who is so scared of flying he has to get so drunk he almost can’t get on the plane. His ears pop when in flight so he shouts loudly, and it’s normally swear-words and comments about the people in front.
I wanted to sit quietly and read my book. He stopped me by plucking out the leg hairs poking through the holes in my jeans. ‘Urgh, you are disgusting, why don’t you shave?’
I had to explain to everyone he was my brother, not my husband. The fact he looks like a ‘stretched on a rack’ version of me, except annoyingly better looking, should have made it obvious.
We almost missed the flight because of him. I made us miss the stop to my parent’s village because I thought I’d lost my phone. We ended up miles away with no trains and no taxi’s in sight.
My other brother, Dora the explorer was on an interrail trip round Europe and couldn’t understand how we could have messed up our itinerary in such a spectacular fashion. He had all his boarding passes printed and saved in a laminate folder.
We finally arrived at 11pm and hid in the garden to surprise everyone. My dad was so shocked the first thing he asked was ‘when are you going home’. I then spent two days wedged in the back of the car with my brother’s ‘manspreading’ their legs, so my knees knocked together. Dora played Iron Maiden as loudly as he did on car trips when I was a kid, while my other brother threatened to spew from his hangover.
How can three children be so different? Dora loves wine so much he has an app on his phone that tells him all about the bottle he is drinking. ‘Mum, did you know this wine is in the top 2% for the region?’ I was like ‘How interesting, please tell me more, and can I see the photos from your four-hour red bus tour of Paris again?’.
My other brother drank anything that would get him blotto quickly and then jumped in the freezing cold pool. The most annoying thing about him is the fact that even when drunk he is better than everyone at everything. He won at bowling, he won at pool, he even won at shooting targets. He doesn’t even look once he has the ball or shot lined up, he just smirks at you instead.
Dora cooked pork fillets that were so tough you could use them to kill a man. He claimed they were lovely but fell asleep with a mouthful of the leathery stuff, proving how exhausting it was to chew. Mum kept marvelling at how ‘all her children were together’ while I marvelled at how we all managed to function and lead relatively normal lives.